Sangwardene ensure extended series lead
Sri Lanka extended their ODI series lead over England to three-one on Sunday, winning the fourth ODI by six wickets in Colombo thanks to an all-round effort from their top order.
Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene's near-century stand was the backbone of the chase, as they reached the target of 266 with two balls to spare. England had been all out for 265 earlier in the day, with James Taylor making 90.
England won the toss and elected to bat, with Alex Hales finally getting a chance to open the batting in Alastair Cook's absence. But the Nottinghamshire man did not take advantage of the opportunity, out for a second-ball duck.
Moeen Ali was also not long for the middle, and after hitting two lovely fours, he stepped down the track to Tillakaratne Dilshan's second delivery of the day, missed the ball, and found himself stumped.
Joe Root and Taylor, in the side for banned Cook, then aimed to steady the ship and put on 93 runs together, with Taylor the dominant scorer. He brought up his maiden ODI half century in that time.
Root was unable to emulate his knock in the third game, and was out for 36, bowled by Rangana Herath. Ravi Bopara also found his stumps disturbed soon afterwards, for 22 by Dilshan.
With Eoin Morgan, skipper on the day, batting at the other end, Taylor inched closer towards a century, but he was unable to get the last 10 runs. He was caught by Kusal Perera off Ajantha Mendis for 90, one of three wickets for the spinner.
Morgan made his way to a half century (62), but the other side of the track was a disaster as the lower middle order imploded. Ben Stokes, Chris Jordan and Chris Woakes were all out to spinners for single figures.
Sri Lanka's knock started quickly but was soon affected by the loss of Dilshan, who was out in the sixth over for 16. Sangakkara and Kusal Perera then took the score to 69, before the latter was bagged for 31.
The veteran pairing of Sangakkara and Jayawardene then joined forces to put on 96 together across 17 overs, going at nearly identical rates. Mahela was unable to reach his 50 though, bowled by Chris Jordan for 44.
Sangakkara and Angelo Mathews then put on 49 together, taking the score past 200 into the teens, before Sanga fell to Jordan. He cut at a short and wide one and Chris Woakes would have been hard pressed to drop it.
Mathews and Lahiru Thirimanne made sure of the tight game, as England continued to send down a criminal number of wides. The tally for the four games in the series has gone above seven overs' worth of wides.
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